Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Giving at the Office

In addition to the Mass, the official prayer of the Church also consists of the Divine Office, known in its reformed version as The Liturgy of the Hours. It fulfills the biblical mandate to pray "seven times daily." Its use in choro has been the province of monastic houses for centuries, and most of us who grew up Catholic might remember the priest saying his private prayers from the little black book known as a "breviary."

The main parts of the daily Office are Lauds (morning prayer) and Vespers (evening prayer). Then there is Compline (night prayer) to be said before retiring, the three "little hours" of Terce (midmorning prayer), Sext (midday prayer) and None (midafternoon prayer), and finally Matins, also known as Vigils, or the Office of Readings. In monastic usage, Matins is prayed in the middle of the night, but the rest of us can resort to it at any time during the day.

I told myself I was going to begin praying the Divine Office beginning with the new liturgical year, beginning with the First Sunday of Advent, on November 27. I would limit myself to Lauds and Vespers, which is all most people do anyway who are under obligation.

There is an online version at a site called Universalis.com. But more likely than not, I'll use the real book. I have one in my library already, but it's nice to know I can pull up a copy online if I have to.

Now if I could just get a version for the Palm Pilot. Any ideas out there?


Mike the Geek said...

Liturgy of the Hours Apostolate. has each day's daily office in .pdf format suitable for handhelds. They usually have a week or two at a time for download. You'll need Adobe Reader for the Palm, but that's a free download.

belloc said...


Listen to The Geek. Universalis is incomplete.. You'll find the entire Office at LotH Apostolate.

For my part, I've been praying the Office for several years. I've given up on the LotH, which is fine to start with, but once you begin learning a little about it, you'll find that it suffered as much if not more from the reform as the Mass.

I pray the '61 Roman Breviary. If you can get a hold of a copy, I'd recommend the 1964 Benziger version edited by Bebe Bado, OSB. It was the first all-English edition approved by the US bishops, and is in beautiful, modern English, the very model of what ICEL should and can be.

Happy praying!

David L Alexander said...

Hey Mr Geek, how big is the complete file? The one from Universalis is 4 megs, which is a whopper for a Palm Pilot. At least it is for mine.

(I'm due for an upgrade anyway.)

David L Alexander said...

Mike, Belloc, et al:

I began reading the Office on Saturday evening, with First Vespers for the First Sunday of Advent, using the reformed "Liturgy of the Hours." I intend to pray both Lauds (Morning Prayer) and Vespers (Evening Prayer) every day, Deo volente. I use the one-volume edition published by Catholic Book Publishing, which takes up a bit of room in my briefcase. So until I possess a Palm Pilot with sufficient storage capacity, I am tempted to use the Little Office of the BVM during the week, at least for Lauds. This too was subject to the post-conciliar reforms.

Somewhere in my library, I do have a '62 or '64 English translation of Lauds, Vespers, and Compline. But I believe it is published not by Benzinger, but by Liturgical Press. The latter, as you may recall, was instrumental in putting a vernacular breviary in the layman's hands early in the 20h century.

As to the psalmody of the LotH, I do admit to finding the meter of the 1963 Grail to be more rhythmic than the NAB found in my hand missal (reformed liturgy), albeit a bit sparse in its length. Just a bit. The ICEL experimental translation (and I have that in my library as well) is one step removed from text messaging, to say the least.

Eventually, should I ever attend the Old Mass regularly, I will avail myself of the Monastic Diurnal found here:


I understand this is essentially the same reform of the Office that is found here:


Would my understanding be correct?